Address: 6545 B Ave, Otter Rock, OR 97369
Birthplace: Quito, Ecuador
Birth Date: 4/10/75
Ethnic Background: Andean
Describe your traditional skill/craft/art, when and why it is done, and your history with it:
The Charango (ten stringed Andean Guitar) has been constructed traditionally using the armadillo shell but now is principally constructed from wood. Both the Charango and the bamboo flutes (including the Quena) are made to accompany all traditional festivities in communities, towns and cities across the Andean region. I began playing the instrument as a boy, and then as and adult became interested in learning how to make them.
How and from whom was the tradition learned?
I learned to make the Quena flutes in Ecuador in the year 2000 from Jaime Paredes. He mentored me on selecting the bamboo and tuning the flutes.
During the last decade I developed new flute making techniques that I have applied to many other types of Andean flutes such as the sampoña (also know as a panflute) and the river cane flute.
I began to think seriously about making my own Charango two years ago after getting inspired by a fellow luthier. I started reading and researching about the techniques of making this wonderful instrument.
My father bought me my first Charango when I was 12 from a neighbor who was a musician and instrument maker. It had the form of a panther carved on it. I love the instrument and I remembered spending some time working in a nearby shop helping finish stringed instruments. Today I have my own workshop in which I spend part of every day working on my Charangos. This enables me to continue the connection to my past and inspires me to further my knowledge of this craft which brings joy to my family, my friends, and my community.
How, when, why did you come to Oregon:
I immigrated to Oregon about 11 years ago to live with my wife, a native Oregonian.
Any other biographical information (awards, honors, presentation, etc.):
I have played Andean Folk Music for the last 15 years of my life. I was inspired as a boy by my grandfather and the popular Andean folk groups of my native country, Ecuador. I later traveled the world sharing my music as part of the music group Chayag.
After coming to the US, I continued working in music. Through my performances I feel I’ve contributed to the cultural enrichment of our diverse society.
Also, my four young children are growing up immersed in the music, and I hope they will continue to share and interpret the richness of their Andean heritage.